Alibaba, equivalent to online retailer Amazon in China, announced a new partnership with Ford last week, but GM has also signed on for new sales experiments with the company, The Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday.
The core of the experiment will be a new way to purchase cars. Alibaba will let Chinese buyers choose a car for a three-day-long test drive and decide whether to purchase the car. Additionally, GM will be involved in Alibaba’s grander scheme to purchase a car in less than five minutes online.
The retailer will open two Super Test-Drive Centers” in Shanghai and in Nanjing ahead of its “automotive vending machine” scheduled to open in January. Consumers would browse through cars on their smartphones and the purchase process will be “as easy as buying a can of Coke,” said Brion Tingler, head of external affairs for Alibaba Group.
Alibaba will also build a staffless store to allow individual pick-up of new cars via facial recognition, the company added.
GM, Ford, Volvo, Audi and Mercedes-Benz all signed on for the experimental sales technique.